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Speakers at 'Sizing up the global market' - Sizing no linear matter!
Oct '09
“Outstanding…excellent…invaluable” were some of the superlatives used by delegates to describe the advice and information they received at the ASBCI sizing and fit seminar, 'Sizing up the global market.' Nearly 160 delegates from across the fashion and corporate clothing sectors, attended the seminar at the Barceló Hotel in Daventry, organised by the ASBCI in partnership with Company Clothing magazine and the world's largest sizing technology specialist Alvanon.

Sizing and fit guru, Ed Gribbin, president of Alvainsight, a division of Alvanon, headed an expert panel of speakers from Incorporatewear, Lectra, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), Royal Bank of Scotland & NatWest and Select Research. Together they advised delegates on how to optimise customer satisfaction and brand loyalty while reducing returns and inventory by identifying “consumer commonalities”, creating “flexible styles” in the 'right fabrics' and implementing targeted and consistent sizing strategies. Furthermore delegates were shown the crucial role played by robust and process driven communication strategies within the supply-chain that includes the customer.

Keynote speaker for the day was Ed Gribbin, president of Alvainsight, a division of Alvanon, who flew from America especially to speak at the seminar. Drawing on his illustrious sizing and fit career within both the fashion and corporate wear sectors he explained the complex “emotional consumer connection” with sizing saying: “20 per cent of fit is technical and the rest is how you communicate it” – within the supply-chain and to the consumer.

He went on to say that most garment suppliers have a global consumer profile where “diversity is the reality” and there is no such thing as a “pan-european or even Asian fit.” Sizing he explained is not a simple linear issue. “You cannot sell a UK petite range into China – it won't work.” Rather he urged delegates to use global and local sizing survey and research data when constructing their sizing strategies within which they could identify and target crucial “consumer commonalities”. He concluded, within the fashion sector: “It is far better to be consistently wrong than be inconsistently right.”

Richard Barnes, managing director of Select Research, who is currently undertaking the first ever national survey of children using 3D scans, ShapeGB, agrees: “Sizing is about shape, contour and curves, not linear averages.” His use of advanced scanning technologies and methodologies allows him to capture an individual's Body Volume Index, BVI. Unlike the Body Mass Index, BMI, that only takes into account height and weight, BVI analyses weight distribution in relation to age, gender and ethnicity, giving a far more accurate analysis of body shape and health.

As part of ShapeGB Select Research is currently working with several universities including, Aston, Loughborough and MMU to scan thousands of children across the UK and generate BVI profiles for each.

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